Alta, The City of the Northern Lights, is the official junction of the county. Alta has an established airport (only 2 hours away from Oslo). From Alta it is possible to explore the rest of the county with the help of a good operating network of buses and express boats. Alta gives you both the city life – with cafes, hotels, banks and restaurants, and a rural view of the immediate neighborhood magnificent nature and historical monuments. The Alta Museum’s fields of rock carvings and the Observatory of Northern Lights at Haldde are frequently visited tourist attractions.
Alta took the name ‘City of the Northern Lights’ in the year 2000. The Northern Lights, with their impressive color spectrum, have played an important role for many centuries in people’s superstition. Today they have lead to the search of a more scientific explanation of the phenomena. The world’s first Northern Lights Observatory was established in 1899.
Alta is a fantastic starting point to enjoy outdoor life. During summer and winter you can do small and big expeditions, which vary in degree of difficulty, that are mostly within the immediate neighborhood. ‘The world’s best Salmon river’ runs through Europe’s largest canyon. It is an eldorado for the angler as well as for the nature enthusiast. Guided tours on the river and a visit to the power station in Sautso are very popular tours. The Alta Slate is a synonym for high quality and more than 100 years of traditional mining in The City of the Northern Lights. The Alta slate is actually called Alta quartzite and is quarried from the mountains around the Alta fjord in Western Europe’s greatest occurence of slate.
Alta harbor is centrally located in Alta. This is the maritime junction where you find cruise liners, express boats and other maritime activities. The first church building in the Alta fjord was erected on Årøya and was ready for use in 1964. Already, in 1704, it was moved to Talvik. In the 19th Century the construction of churches came into full swing.